14:28 GMT25 October 2020
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    Residents in Florida are scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to make landfall in the state as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds as soon as Sunday.

    Dorian, which is currently a Category 3 hurricane, is about 480 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas and currently has maximum sustained winds of around 110 mph. 

    ​The hurricane is currently moving northwest at 10 mph and is expected to hit the southwestern US, between Florida and southeastern Georgia, on Sunday or Monday, Weather.com reported. The northwestern Bahamas are currently under a hurricane watch, and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for 12 counties in the state on Thursday.

    ​"The biggest concern will be Dorian's slow motion when it is near Florida, placing some areas of the state at an increasing risk of a prolonged, drawn-out event of strong winds, dangerous storm surge and heavy rainfall," the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced Friday. The entire state of Florida is under a state of emergency. However, local officials have not yet decided whether voluntary or mandatory evacuations will be ordered.

    As of now, the NHC forecasts that the southeastern US could see between 6 and 12 inches of rain. In addition, life-threatening storm surge flooding is also expected on the east coast of Florida early next week.

    Taking note of the approaching storm, Florida's Orlando International Airport announced Friday that it would be ceasing its commercial operations, starting on Monday September 2 at 2 p.m. local time.

    ​“Floridians need to be prepared,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday. “The bad news of the storm going slower is that that could potentially have some negative impacts once it reaches landfall, but you do have time before it reaches to prepare if you have not done so.”

    The governor also reassured residents Thursday that the state has 819,000 gallons of water and 1.8 million meals ready to distribute if necessary.

    ​Jeff Byard, an associate administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also warned this week Dorian will most likely "create a lot of havoc with infrastructure, power and roads.”

    “This is going to be a big storm. We’re prepared for a big response,” Byard reassured.

    Florida residents have filling up their vehicles with gas and stocking up on food ahead of the hurricane.

    ​"Get water, get gas, get cash out of the ATMs," West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James warned Friday. "The more we hear about this storm, it sounds like a serious one."

    US President Donald Trump also canceled a visit to Poland he was scheduled to make over the weekend due to the storm.

    "To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm I have decided to send our vice president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place," the president said Thursday. "It's something very important for me to be here."


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